Chad and Samoa announced their ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury during a high-level event co-hosted by the Governments of Japan, where the Minamata Convention was adopted, Switzerland, where the negotiations concluded, the US, the first country to accept the Convention, and Uruguay, the country that chaired the negotiation process.
24 September 2015: Chad and Samoa announced their ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury during a high-level event co-hosted by the Governments of Japan, where the Minamata Convention was adopted, Switzerland, where the negotiations concluded, the US, the first country to accept the Convention, and Uruguay, the country that chaired the negotiation process.The Minamata Convention aims to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.
The event took place on 24 September 2015, in New York, US, on the margins of the UN Sustainable Development Summit, which adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Noting that her country was the second to ratify the Minamata Convention, Uruguay stressed the need for other countries to ratify it as soon as possible. Japan expressed determination to play a leading role in tackling mercury pollution around the globe, which, he noted, is part of the 2030 Agenda through SDG target 12.4 on achieving the environmentally sound management of chemicals.
The US explained that mercury is a trans-boundary pollutant. He said gold mining is a main source of mercury pollution, and children and women, who are the most sensitive, are exposed the most. He said the Minamata Convention breaks new ground in tackling mercury pollution; through the Convention countries have the opportunity to reduce their population’s exposure to mercury. He expressed the US’ commitment to working with others to address this health hazard. Switzerland recalled that, together with Norway, it had proposed creating a legally binding agreement on mercury, also suggesting integrating the Minamata Secretariat into UNEP’s joint secretariat.
Naoko Ishii, Global Environment Facility (GEF) CEO and Chairperson, announced that the GEF set aside US$141 million for the Minamata Convention and for its Parties. She underlined the imperative to engage the private sector, explaining that there will be no implementation without it.
Samoa called environmentally sound waste management crucial for environmental protection in small island developing States (SIDS), which are vulnerable to mercury pollution and need to prioritize the issue. He announced that Samoa has in place national legislation on sound waste management, and reiterated Samoa’s commitment to the Minamata Convention. Chad encouraged countries to establish policies at the national level for the rational use of mercury.
Iran announced that the ratification of the Minamata Convention has been completed in its parliament and is now subject to post-adoption procedures. He expressed hope that, by December 2015, Iran will deposit its instrument of ratification with the UN. Timor-Leste expressed commitment to sign off on the Convention in the near future.
The Convention was adopted by the Conference of Plenipotentiaries on 10 October 2013, in Kumamoto, Japan, and will enter into force 90 days after 50 States deposit their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval, or accession. As of 24 September 2015, 127 countries and the EU have signed the Convention. Fifteen countries have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval, or accession: Chad, Samoa, Djibouti, Gabon, Guinea, Guyana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritania, Monaco, Nicaragua, Seychelles, the UK, Uruguay and the US.